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‘It’s a harmless trend’ — police dismiss claim of cult initiation among students in Delta

The Delta police command has dismissed claim that some primary and secondary school students in the state were being initiated into cultism.

Footage of some students in Asaba, the state capital, displaying what was rumoured to be initiation marks earlier surfaced online.

Harrison Gwamnishu, the activist, earlier claimed the initiation process, known as “snake bite”, involves intense rubbing of paper at the back of one’s palm amid incantation until blood comes out.

But in a statement on Thursday, Bright Edafe, the command spokesperson, said the video was “a harmless trend among school children and not a cult initiation process”.

“The command is aware of a viral video clip on various social media handles that captions an activist in one of the secondary schools around 74 area, Asaba, Delta state. The command, having examined the video clip and carried investigation, wishes to debunk the narrative by the said activist as false and should be completely disregarded,” the statement reads.

“On receipt of the video clip, the commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass, immediately directed the Area Commander Asaba, ACP Sunday Oladipo and the command public relations officer, DSP Edafe Bright to proceed to the school for an on the spot investigation.

“On arrival at the school premises, the school pupils, a teacher, and one of the parents were interrogated. A mother of one of the affected children stated that her children said it was a game in the school tagged ‘snake bite’ and nothing more to it.

“The PPRO probed further to ascertain the claim and interviewed the school pupil, which led to an interesting discovery. It became clear that it is a harmless trend among school children and not a cult initiation process as wrongly portrayed by the said activist.

“The command therefore urges parents to be calm and ignore the false claim making the rounds, also, it is noteworthy that any right-thinking person who noticed such a trend ordinarily will go into proper investigation and also inform the police to investigate before posting on social media. It is again advised that the false publication should not be taken seriously.”

Charles Aniagwu, the state commissioner for information, earlier warned that any school found indulging in such an act would be shut down.

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